Not All Board Certifications Are Created Equal

You may be surprised to find out that not all surgeons who advertise themselves as a “board certified” have the same level of training. A board-certified plastic surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), has completed years of hands-on training by experts in the field and demonstrated mastery of their specialty through oral and written examinations.  At the completion of their training, they will have performed hundreds of surgeries like the one you are considering. Additionally, some board certifications can be bought while others are earned. Those who earn the board certifications are truly trained in the field, as opposed to those who are not truly trained but advertise as “Board Certified”. Taking the time to check and verify a board membership is definitely worth the effort and will help ensure that the doctor meets at least a minimum expertise.

What does it mean to be “board certified,” and is it really that important?

Once physicians complete medical school, they embark on a residency program in the specialty of their choosing. Residency programs consist of multiple years of hands-on training during which the physicians are guided by experts in the specialty with extensive experience.  After completion of these years of training, the residents are then eligible to take a rigorous examination that allows them to demonstrate their expertise in their chosen specialty.  Only after they have completed the years of hands-on training and passed their exams are doctors then able to advertise themselves as “board certified” in their chosen specialty. Additionally, to maintain their board certification, surgeons must engage in continuing education activities, so you know that they are constantly learning and improving in their practice.

The bigger organization that accredits and oversees the individual specialty organizations is the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).  The ABMS determines which programs are of sufficient rigor to guarantee proficiency in a particular specialty.  For patients considering cosmetic surgeries, the only ABMS-recognized board certification is American Board of Plastic Surgery. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the American Board of of Medical Specialties.

So, what does this mean for you? If your physician is not “board certified,”by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, there is no guarantee that they have completed extensive hands-on training in their field or have been able to demonstrate proficiency in the requirements of their specialty.  The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not American Board of of Medical Specialties recognized. In fact, in many states, physicians who have not completed a residency at all can practice medicine, even performing cosmetic procedures.  But do you want a “cosmetic surgeon” who has not had years of hands-on guidance and demonstrated mastery to perform surgery on you? Unlikely. But, unfortunately, not all patients are knowledgeable about accrediting organizations, and some doctors are happy to take advantage of this.

So how do I know if my plastic surgeon is really board-certified?

Fortunately, there are a couple of questions you can ask to protect yourself:

  • Ask your physician about their board certification. For cosmetic surgery, you want an American Board of Plastic Surgery board-certified surgeon. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
  • Ask the doctor if they have privileges at the local hospitals should you have complications from your procedure. While most procedures are performed in stand-alone surgery centers or even in the office, your surgeon should be able to treat you if you were to be admitted to a local hospital with complications.  Physicians who are not board-certified are not given hospital privileges and would be unable to treat you.

When you are considering plastic surgery, don’t risk your health and aesthetic outcome to a surgeon who doesn’t have the highest level of training! Call 540.371.7730 to schedule your personal consultation today, and know that you will be treated by experts!










Age Like a Vampire with a PRP Facelift

The passing of time takes its toll on our skin and is especially visible on our faces. Over time, we develop wrinkles, discoloration, uneven tone and texture, and areas of the face that become “hollowed out;” these effects combine to make us look older than we may prefer.  While a traditional facelift can transform your looks and erase years from your face, there is now a non-surgical alternative. Using a combination of injectable treatments expertly placed in precise locations around the face, the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or “vampire” facelift can give you total facial rejuvenation without incisions or downtime.

How does the PRP facelift work?

The PRP facelift combines potent treatments that will enhance the contours of the skin and stimulate new facial tissue growth to make you look years younger.  At Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg, the PRP facelift is a multistep process, precisely performed to give you excellent results. One of our extensively-trained clinical staff members will study the natural contours and architecture of your face, noting signs of aging and areas where collagen production has slowed. After a thorough exam, injections of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers will be used to enhance the shape and smoothness of your skin, filling in areas where structural loss has occurred over time. Placement of these fillers will leave your skin looking naturally refreshed and youthful, erasing fine lines and wrinkles and plumping areas that may look “hollowed out.”

After dermal fillers are placed, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is injected to stimulate cell growth and collagen production, enhancing your skin’s natural ability to renew itself.  The PRP is harvested from your own blood, which will be drawn before the procedure, and it contains molecules that naturally promote healing and the formation of youthful, fresh skin cells. It can also be used to target the treatment of deep wrinkles.  The final step of the PRP facial is a complete healing and maintenance plan.  Our skin care experts will construct a personalized treatment plan for you, based on the specific issues and needs of your skin so that you can experience lasting, excellent results.

What can I expect during recovery and beyond?

Healing from a PRP facelift is both fast and comfortable. One of the many benefits of this approach to enhancing your appearance is that it requires very little downtime and no surgical incisions. You will be given complete care instructions prior to your procedure, and our providers will work with you to make sure you get the best possible results, which you will experience immediately!

You can expect that your skin will be smoother and less droopy, many of your wrinkles will be reduced or erased completely, and areas of your face with loose skin will be tightened. Over time, your skin will produce more collage and healthy tissue, so your results will continue to improve.

If you are ready to erase years from your face without surgery, a PRP/Vampire Facelift may be a great option for you! Call 540.371.7730 to schedule your personal consultation today, and get started on the path to a younger-looking you!










The Major Benefits of the Mini Facelift

Sometimes, a small procedure can have big benefits. If you’re between the ages of 35-50, the mini facelift can help you achieve a naturally revitalized look—without the downtime associated with conventional facelift surgery. The mini facelift is used to correct the early signs of aging, such as deep nasolabial folds, sagging cheeks, and jowls. It can also be combined with complementary treatments, like BOTOX® and dermal fillers, for more comprehensive rejuvenation.

4 Advantages of the Mini Facelift

Though mature patients (those over age 50) often require a full facelift to reverse the visible signs of aging, mini facelift surgery is usually the best choice for younger patients. This procedure has a number of benefits that make it an appealing alternative to conventional facelift surgery:

  1. The mini facelift requires very little recovery time.

Most people only need to rest for three to five days after having a mini facelift. Likewise, they generally experience a comfortable recovery period as this procedure produces minimal swelling and bruising. Mini facelift surgery is, therefore, the most practical choice for patients who are juggling work obligations with a busy family life.

  1. You’ll enjoy long-lasting results.

Though injectable compounds are peerless when it comes to ease of treatment (and recovery), temporary treatments aren’t right for everyone. Those who don’t want to commit to having “top up” injections of BOTOX® or dermal fillers every three to six months typically prefer the longevity of surgical results. Just one mini facelift can last for five years or longer, depending on your age and lifestyle.

  1. You won’t have to worry about scarring.

The incisions made during mini facelift surgery are very short, so they don’t create visible scars or lead to hair loss. Usually, incisions are made around the patient’s ears in order to hide scar tissue within the natural crease of the ear.

  1. The mini facelift produces more natural-looking results for younger patients.

Mini facelift surgery won’t make your face look “tight,” and it won’t make you look like a different person. By making powerful yet subtle adjustments to the tissues that support the face, this procedure treats the core causes of early aging without pulling or removing any skin.

Choosing the Right Type of Mini Facelift

The term “mini facelift” doesn’t refer to a single standardized procedure. Instead, this label is applied to a number of different facial rejuvenation methods that are less invasive than conventional facelift surgery. In fact, some mini facelifts don’t involve surgery at all; they may be completed with sutures or a series of injectable treatments. To ensure that you get the thorough, long-lasting results you want, it’s important to seek out a proven procedure like the “S lift” or the mid facelift. The S lift and mid facelift work by lifting the system of muscles that support the cheeks, thereby raising the jowls and restoring facial fat pads to a more youthful position. Procedures that don’t incorporate these steps can’t change your facial contours in a profound, enduring way.

To learn more about the S lift and mid facelift, contact our team of board-certified plastic surgeons in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia. During your consultation, our doctors will help you explore your options for facial rejuvenation and develop a personalized treatment plan that works with your lifestyle.


Liposuction: Build Your Summer Body in the Winter

Cold, dark days and slippery conditions don’t lend themselves to jogging or playing sports. Winter also tends to cause intense, persistent fatigue for those who live at higher latitudes. Reduced sunlight leads to increased production of the “sleep hormone” melatonin, making people feel tired throughout the afternoon and evening. Low levels of vitamin D play a role in poor performance, too: According to a study published in the journal PLOS One, athletes with optimal vitamin D levels exhibit greater strength, stamina, and ability to recover from intense workouts (as compared to athletes with low vitamin D levels). In short, if working out in the winter exhausts you, it’s not all in your head; it really is harder to get in shape during the colder months. How, then, can you successfully sculpt the perfect body in time for swimsuit season? Costly, tiring gym sessions are one option, but if that doesn’t work for you, it might be time to consider liposuction.

Liposuction for Weight Loss: How it Works

Liposuction (and related procedures, like SmartLipo) can’t create spontaneous whole-body weight loss. What these procedures can do, however, is quickly and permanently reduce the size of “problem areas” that haven’t responded to natural weight loss methods. For example, if you have a BMI under 30 but you still struggle with a protruding belly and chubby thighs, liposuction can contour these regions, so they’re more proportional with the rest of your body. Many people use liposuction to help them achieve greater visible muscle tone (even a modest amount of subcutaneous fat can obscure muscle definition) or get rid of distracting lumps and folds that make them feel self-conscious.

During liposuction, a special instrument called a cannula is inserted directly into the patient’s subcutaneous fat. This thin tube (which is typically between two and six millimeters in diameter) injects tumescent solution into the treatment area, liquefying fat cells for easier removal. Tumescent solution also typically contains a local anesthetic (to minimize discomfort) and several agents designed to reduce bleeding and inflammation. By controlling soreness and swelling locally, plastic surgeons can often avoid the use of general anesthetic when performing liposuction.

Recent advances in liposuction technology have significantly reduced the recovery time associated with this procedure, too. Most people who have liposuction only need to rest for about a week after their surgery, and they can return to light activities within days. The recovery from laser lipolysis procedures like SmartLipo is even shorter: SmartLipo patients can usually return to work within just three to five days. In other words, if months of punishing workouts haven’t paid off for you, body contouring can intervene to create the results you deserve—quickly.

Arrange a Liposuction Consultation in Fredericksburg

Don’t let the “winter blahs” stop you from achieving your summer body goals. Our team of caring, experienced board-certified plastic surgeons can help you find freedom from unwanted fat. To begin your journey, contact us to arrange a one-on-one consultation.




Can CoolSculpting Help You Reach Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Making major lifestyle changes is hard, no matter when you try to make them. New Year’s resolutions are, however, particularly daunting for most of us: Not only are we usually attempting to make several big changes at once after New Year’s, we’re doing so during a dark, cold time of year when motivation is at an all-time low. Understandably, many people, therefore, start looking to alternative solutions, like CoolSculpting, to help them meet their objectives. CoolSculpting uses a non-surgical process called “cryolipolysis” to destroy fat cells, so it automatically appeals to people who hope to lose weight after the holidays. Still, before you contact us to book a CoolSculpting consultation, there are a few things you’ll need to know about this procedure:

Fat Loss Vs. Weight Loss

Numerous studies have shown that CoolSculpting can destroy up to 25% of fat cells in treated areas—an impressive figure for a procedure that doesn’t require a single incision. Nonetheless, there’s a limit on how much actual weight a person can lose via body contouring: Even surgical procedures like liposuction can only remove five to ten pounds of fat at a time. (Removing more than this could cause complications.) Most people who have CoolSculpting lose about three pounds after all of their treatment sessions are complete.

While that doesn’t sound like a substantial change, it’s important to realize that fat distribution plays a significant role in how we look. A person who has a flabby-looking stomach or a double chin is going to appear heavy, even if they’re a healthy weight. By getting rid of these deposits of stubborn diet-resistant fat, CoolSculpting can make a person look 15-20 pounds lighter than he or she did before treatment. This striking cosmetic difference is why CoolSculpting has a patient satisfaction rate of between 85-90%.

Furthermore, though CoolSculpting can’t replace conventional weight loss, it can do something diet and exercise can’t do: Actually destroy fat cells. When we lose weight naturally, our fat cells shrink, but they don’t go away. This leaves us prone to retaining (and regaining) weight in any areas where fat cells are especially dense. CoolSculpting, by contrast, permanently reduces the density of fat cells in treated areas, so those areas will always be proportionally slimmer—even if you gain back a bit of the weight you’ve lost.

How to Use CoolSculpting to Reach Your New Year’s Resolutions

Now that you know what CoolSculpting can (and can’t) do, there are several steps you should take to effectively integrate this procedure into your post-holiday weight loss plan:


  1. Make slimming down enough to have CoolSculpting your first weight loss goal.


Before you book your first CoolSculpting appointment, you should try to lose most of your “holiday weight” through traditional methods like diet and exercise. We recommend getting within about 20 pounds your final goal weight before you start your cryolipolysis sessions.


  1. Identify your “problem areas.”


Once you’ve gotten close to your ideal weight, you’ll be able to assess which parts of your body aren’t responding well to diet and exercise. Make a list of any problem areas you want to sculpt and bring it to your consultation. Knowing that it’s possible to correct these areas will make achieving your resolutions feel realistic, a key factor for staying on track.


  1. Use your CoolSculpting results to help you stay motivated.

Research shows that when people obtain the body they want (rather than being stuck with areas of stubborn fat), they’re more motivated to stay in shape. Take pictures of the areas you’re having treated with CoolSculpting before your first appointment and every two weeks thereafter. As you watch your problem areas become visibly slimmer and more toned, you’ll feel empowered to keep pursuing your goals.

If you think CoolSculpting might be right for you, feel free to contact us for more information on how this procedure permanently destroys stubborn fat. We’ll be happy to help you learn more about this safe, convenient non-surgical treatment.





Liposuction and Lipedema

Liposuction, like many plastic surgery procedures, has important medical uses. Liposuction can help patients with a condition called lipedema finding long-lasting relief from the physical and emotional discomfort associated with their illness. If you or someone you know is struggling with lipedema, our board-certified plastic surgeons can guide you on the path towards recovery.

What is Lipedema?

Lipedema is a poorly-understood condition that causes severe, chronic problems with fat distribution and fluid retention. This disease, which primarily affects women, creates disproportionately large deposits of fat on the lower limbs and buttocks, even if the affected woman is otherwise slim. This buildup of fat is not caused by lifestyle factors (like dietary choices) and it does not respond to conventional weight loss methods. Liposuction is the only effective treatment for lipedema.

The fat distribution issues caused by lipedema should not be confused with normal variations in body shape, i.e., having a “pear-shaped” figure. Women with lipedema have extreme proportions; it’s not uncommon for a woman with this condition to have a ten-size difference between her upper and lower halves (such as wearing a size 6 top and size 16 pants). Furthermore, unlike normal fatty deposits, the fat stores created by lipedema frequently cause pain and swelling. If untreated, lipedema can lead to mobility issues, including disability. Lipedema can also be disfiguring; it’s not unusual for lipedemic fatty deposits to clump together and harden, creating visible lumps under the skin.

How Liposuction Treats Lipedema

Noninvasive treatments, like compression stockings, pain medication, and lymphatic massage, are often used by physicians to manage lipedema. However, while these treatments can ease some of the discomfort associated with lipedema, they cannot slow the buildup of fat that invariably accompanies this progressive disease. Liposuction, by contrast, permanently removes problematic fatty deposits. Fat cells that are removed via liposuction will not grow back on their own, so in many cases, liposuction can halt the progression of lipedema.

Liposuction has been shown to greatly reduce pain and mobility issues in patients with lipedema, too: According to a study of 25 patients who received liposuction for lipedema, spontaneous pain flare-ups, sensitivity to pressure, and susceptibility to swelling and bruising all greatly decreased following surgical treatment. Meanwhile, patients reported experiencing significant mobility and quality of life gains. (Liposuction in the Treatment of Lipedema: A Longitudinal Study, Archives of Plastic Surgery, 2014)

How is Liposuction Performed?

During liposuction, a thin tube called a cannula is inserted below the skin. Our doctors then irrigate targeted fatty deposits with a special solution in order to liquefy fat cells and make them easier to remove. This solution contains a local anesthetic that greatly reduces postoperative soreness, along with other compounds designed to limit bleeding and swelling. Once fat is ready for removal, it’s sucked out through the cannula. Liposuction does not require the creation of large incisions, so it rarely causes any visible scarring. It also has a very low rate of complications.

Getting Help for Lipedema

Many women with lipedema are not diagnosed until their condition becomes disabling or disfiguring, which makes treatment more challenging. If you suspect you have lipedema, we recommend arranging a liposuction consultation with our doctors; they’ll help you assess your symptoms and recommend the best course of action. With our help, freedom from the pain and distress of lipedema is possible.



Why is a Mini Facelift Suitable for Younger Patients?

Facelift surgery is considered the “gold standard” in facial rejuvenation for a reason: It can treat even the most advanced signs of aging, and it produces elegant, natural results that last for ten or more years. Facelift surgery is, however, a complex operation that’s intended for older patients who have obvious loose face and neck skin. Patients under the age of 45 seldom need the extensive alterations offered by this procedure because the skin below their jawline and around their eyes is still fairly firm. That’s why we offer what is known as a “mini” facelift here at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg; this procedure is ideally suited to younger patients who have only just started to notice visible signs of aging.

Understanding the Early Stages of Aging

Though collagen loss begins fairly early in life (the rate of collagen production drops by about 1% per year after age 30), it takes a while for skin to become stretched to the point of visible looseness. Most people don’t experience sagging eyelids, hanging neck skin, and other signs of severe skin laxity until they reach about 55-60 years of age. During the early stages of the aging process, most visible aging is caused by changes in the superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS).

The SMAS plays a crucial role in supporting facial skin, the connective tissues below the skin, and the fat pads that give shape to the face. As the SMAS drops, as it does during our 40s, fat pads slide downwards, creating hollows around our eyes and under our cheeks. Sometimes, fat pads on the lower face form jowls and a double chin as they descend into the submental area. The weight of these fat pads can also make creases and folds of loose skin appear more prominent.

How Can a Mini Facelift Help?

The mini facelift is designed to treat just SMAS sagging, thereby reversing undesirable changes while keeping scarring and recovery time to a minimum. To perform a mini facelift, our surgeons make two small S-shaped incisions behind each ear. Through these incisions, they can access and lift the SMAS. This raises fat pads, restoring youthful facial contours, and minimizes the appearance of loose skin.

Mini facelift surgery usually only takes two hours to complete, and most patients recover from this procedure within just one week. Better still, mini facelift surgery produces subtle results that look natural on younger faces. Because no loose skin is removed during this procedure, your skin won’t look “tight” after having a mini facelift.

For best results, we recommend combining mini facelift surgery with one or more injectable treatments. Injectable treatments can target areas of the face not treated by mini facelift surgery, like the brow, lips, and nasolabial folds. BOTOX® injections can relax the muscles around the temples, smoothing out forehead lines and crow’s feet. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are used to fill in creases and add volume to the lips and cheeks. Injectables don’t require any additional downtime, so they’re perfect for younger patients who have a demanding work schedule or active family life.

To learn more about these treatments and how they can help you manage the early signs of aging, just contact our practice; we’ll be happy to arrange a one-on-one consultation for you.




Last Minute Spa Treatments for All Your Holiday Events

We all want to look our best during the holidays—after all, more social events occur in December and January than at any other time of the year. Unfortunately, that same hustle and bustle make taking time out to pamper ourselves next to impossible. Few people can fit cosmetic surgery before the holidays, and even taking a full day out to visit the spa can be challenging. That’s why we offer several “lunchtime procedures” here at Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg. These non-surgical treatments can make a big difference in how you look, without impacting your busy schedule.

4 Quick and Easy Holiday Spa Treatments

1. Vampire Facials and Facelifts

If you’re looking for a refreshing and rejuvenating facial treatment before the holidays, vampire facial procedures may be right for you. While the name seems intimidating, these treatments utilize PRP (platelet-rich plasma) to encourage cell turnover and help the skin look renewed and youthful. Vampire facials utilize PRP in addition to microneedling, which allows for deep penetration of the PRP serum and improved collagen production by creating microscopic perforations that heal quickly. If you choose a vampire facelift, you can benefit from the plumping and lifting effect of a variety of dermal fillers with the use of PRP to improve the skin’s tone and texture. The result is vibrant skin that no longer looks hollow or drooping. Your procedure is customized to address specific areas of concern.

The vampire facelift does not require downtime for recovery. While the skin may appear slightly red after a vampire facial treatment, any residual side effects will quickly dissipate so you can enjoy the holiday season looking your best.

2. The Fraxel Laser

During Fraxel laser treatment, our doctors use a specialized medical laser to abrade the top layers of the skin gently. This removes damaged and highly pigmented skin cells while speeding up the rate of cellular renewal and boosting collagen production. Fraxel laser treatment is, therefore, a great way to get rid of fine lines, age spots, acne and acne scars. It will also make your skin firmer, smoother, and younger-looking throughout a few treatments.

Unlike a chemical peel, laser skin rejuvenation won’t cause your skin to peel or flake. You’ll be able to resume all your normal activities on the same day you have this procedure, making it an ideal last-minute spa treatment.


Though most people have heard of BOTOX®, few realize how no-fuss this injectable treatment really is: Most BOTOX® appointments take just 15 minutes to complete, you won’t have to rest afterward, and this compound rarely causes any side effects. At the same time, BOTOX® is powerful enough to erase forehead lines and crow’s feet.

4. Paraffin Wax Treatment

One of the first things most of us notice when the weather turns cold is painfully cracked, dry skin on our hands and feet. At Plastic Surgery Services of Fredericksburg, we use paraffin wax submersion to treat this dryness while soothing raw skin effectively. Paraffin wax is a powerful emollient – it coats the skin and traps moisture, so it doesn’t evaporate. Paraffin wax treatment is also a great way to heal damaged cuticles, ease joint pain, and increase circulation.

The holidays will be here soon, so if you’re interested in having a few last-minute spa treatments, you should contact us to arrange a consultation. We’ll help you pick the best low-maintenance treatments to meet your needs.



Is a Mini Facelift Right for You?

The facelift is a popular plastic surgery procedure for patients who are concerned about sagging skin around the lower face. However, for patients whose concerns are not too serious, a more minimally invasive treatment like the mini facelift may be a better procedure to consider. Read our infographic below to find out if the mini facelift is right for you.

If you’re interested in a mini facelift, contact us today.